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Monday, March 6, will be the 47th anniversary of Diego Maradona’s first official goal from a free kick. He was 16 years old, it was at the Gasometer and against Platense. At 16 minutes into the second half, they made it 3-2 but then Squid equalized the duel that was still far from being considered a classic. Diego converted 61 free kick goals in his career and it was a record for an Argentine player. Until Lionel Messi this Sunday he chose to nail it against the base of the left post and give the agonizing victory to PSG in front of Lillefor Ligue 1.
It is not about comparing the two greatest players that the history of Argentine soccer gave. But to specify, detail and observe the evolution of each one. Also analyze two goals from Diego, one awarded and the other not, based on the images that began to circulate since the growth of social networks and easier access to information than in other times.
In the 70’s, free kick goals were a healthy habit. And Diego got used to trying from outside the area from the beginning. In Metro 77, the first goal of the championship was scored by Carlos Alberto Alvarez with a header, after two minutes against Quilmes, after a free kick from the 16-year-old boy.
On the following date, 3-3 with Platense. AND Bicho’s three goals were free kicks. The first two by Bartolo Alvarez and the last by Diego. In that tournament, 76 goals were scored that way, Independiente scored 10 and Argentinos 9. Three were by Maradona, but four by Alvarez and one by Sebastián Ovelar and another by Carlos Carrizo. The auctions were not yet exclusive to Diez.
In the four years he played for Argentinos (1976-80), Diego scored 20 free-kick goals (He scored a total of 116). Later, in his first stage in Boca, another 4 of 28. In addition, he converted two in the Youth World Cup in Japan in 1979 and one in the Senior Team, in 1980 against Poland. Before emigrating to Spain, in 1982, he already had 27 screams.
During his time at Barcelona he scored 38 goals, 5 from free kicks. Diego Dal Santo (@diego1010ar on Twitter), a lawyer from the Pampas, a fan of Diego and who published a book with all the official and friendly matches of the 10th, told in 2021 to Clarion. “With the appearance of digital libraries, I had the chance to read chronicle by chronicle, for example, from Mundo Deportivo de Barcelona and ABC. There are free kick goals that here the newspapers, at the time, only reported Diego’s goal but not how he did it. Some gave him 2 or 3 goals from a free kick but he scored 5 ”.
The wonderful work of Dal Santo, who was the promoter of a project in 2003 and approved in August 2005 for the first street bearing the name of D10S in Santa Rosa, La Pampa (www.facebook.com/CalleDiegoMaradona), is that it also requires the number of free kick goals in friendly matches. “There are twenty more: 7 in Argentinos, 5 in Napoli, 4 in the National Team, two in Boca and one in Barcelona and the youth”. Diego’s number between officials and friendlies, then, reaches 81.
When he arrived at Napoli, at the age of 23, Diego already had 32 free kick celebrations. He then made 24 for Napoli, 3 more for the National Team, 1 for Sevilla and another for Boca. But there are two goals, one that historically was counted and another that was not, which are worth stopping at. Because the images and the criteria used by journalists are often not the same.
On March 3, 1985, Napoli lost 2-1 to Milan in Serie A. The Italian media, addicted at the time to awarding the goal to the last man to touch the ball, reported that it was against Ray Wilkins. But it was a free kick from Diego that deflected off the wall, as you can see. Like Beto Alonso’s goal against Boca at La Bombonera, the day of the orange ball. That is to say, Diego has one more goal at Napoli but he was never accounted for.
On the other hand, during his time in Seville, some statistics show 6 goals and others 7. The celebration of the discord corresponds to the game on January 31, 1993 against Albacete (1-0). Precisely the official account of Sevilla remembered that last goal by Diego. In the image it is clearly seen that he threw a cross into the area and the deflection in defender Catali was key. That is, against. These two goals do not modify the final number of celebrations in Diego’s career, 353, but the free-kick goals do, which would be 62. However, in the official records of the Italian Federation the goal against Milan appears against. In Italy and in Napoli, especially, they always considered that Diego scored 115 goals and not 116.
On October 1, 2022, it had been the last goal that Lionel Messi scored from a free kick, against Nice. He got 50 with the Barcelona shirt, two with PSG and the other nine with the National Team. Unlike Diego, La Pulga scored more than half in the last five years. Between 2004 and 2015 he made 22 and since 2016 he has 39.
“The first person who told me about free kicks was Coco Basile. ‘Let go of your foot, let go of your foot’, he yelled at me. And he told me that my free throws looked like little balls. He wanted me to watch him kick Román (Riquelme). He was one of the first to start with it. Later I remember that in South Africa, with the Profe (Signorini) and Diego we stayed practicing”, Messi told in an interview with TyC Sports on June 5, 2019. The next day, Coco confirmed everything said by the Barcelona player. And on the channel, they made a good game of images and statements.
Meanwhile, Fernando Signorini recalled in his book Football called to rebellion. The dehumanization of sport the anecdote of the free throws between the two greatest. “Read, read, come, dad. Let’s do it back. Put the ball here and listen carefully: don’t take your foot off the ball so quickly, because if you don’t, it doesn’t know what you want.”. And Signorini finished off her anecdote: “he caressed her with her left foot and nailed it in the corner, inflating the net before Messi’s admiring gaze.”
Messi already has 16 goals this season (in addition to 14 assists) and only two were from free kicks, both for Ligue 1 and to win, like this Sunday against Lille, surely special because he was the first as world champion.
A necessary update for a record that may soon change owners. Just a detail among so much magic.